Some soft tissue injuries do not respond well to massage, stretching, supportive footwear, cold and hot treatments, and other conservative treatments. For such resistant cases such as chronic plantar fasciitis and chronic Achilles tendinitis, your podiatrist may recommend shockwave therapy.
Before going ahead with this treatment modality, you should be free to ask your podiatrist any questions you may have. As for how the therapy helps with your injuries, here is what you should know.
Pain Relief by Reducing Nerve Impulses
In your body are nerve fibres which, when activated, release a neurotransmitter called 'substance P'. This substance is responsible for causing pain and discomfort.
Your podiatrist will use shockwave therapy to activate your nerve fibres and stimulate the production of this substance. What follows, of course, is some pain and discomfort. Over time, with subsequent application of shockwave therapy, the nerves become disarmed and can no longer produce substance P. With no substance P production comes pain relief.
Increasing Blood Circulation in Injured Tissue
Shockwave therapy promotes the formation of new blood vessels and improves blood circulation. This increased flow ensures that the damaged tissues get the required nutrients to help with the healing process. It also stimulates the growth of new healthy cells.
Following a tendon tear or a similar trauma, calcium may build up in your tendons. As these deposits become bigger or they become inflamed, you will start to experience severe pain.
The acoustic waves used in shockwave therapy target these calcifications, breaking them down for reabsorption into your body.
Reversing Chronic Inflammation by Mast Cell Activation
At the core of your body's inflammatory response are mast cells. Shockwave therapy has proven to increase the activity of these cells.
Activation of mast cells results in the production of pro-inflammatory compounds. These compounds will first enhance the inflammatory response and help with regenerating new cells after that.
When To Expect Results
As your podiatrist will no doubt tell you, success rates are very high with shockwave therapy. It is recommended that you have weekly sessions.
How long it takes to see results varies from one person to the next. For some patients, the results become apparent after one treatment. It may also take a few more sessions. For the best results as soon as possible, your podiatrist may recommend that you use the shockwave therapy in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
Shockwave therapy is non-invasive, fast, and effective. Your podiatrist can evaluate whether or not you are a suitable candidate for the treatment.